Event Manager

Event and conference management is a glamorous and exciting profession, which demands a lot of hard work and dynamism. As the name suggests, it means conceptualising, planning, organizing and finally, executing an event.

The event could be of any type - musical show, concert, exhibition, wedding, fund-raising, product launching etc. This industry is still young but has great potential for expansion. It offers enormous scope for ambitious young people. Event management is very closely related to advertising and marketing. Events can be thought of as another means of advertising and brand building.

To make an event successful, an in-depth understanding of the product or brand is needed and that it is then planned accordingly. The execution of the event is a process of presenting a small idea in a whole new way. The presentation is what matters, to make the look and feel of the event a wonderful experience for the audience.

Event management can be described as “logistics management”, as it involves orchestrating services and supplies - both the client’s own and those of auxiliary industries. While planning an event, a host of technical details have to be considered in great detail to make up the final spectacle. Lights, sounds and special effects lend to the ambience and give it an almost palpable personality.

A visually appealing aura is necessary, even in the case of corporate events such as conferences, seminars, product promotions etc., though commercial events literally ‘thrive’ on providing their audiences with visual delights and glittering gimmicks.

Another important component is design value, where a special logo is created for the event and the décor is customised. Sometimes, a lot of care is taken to painstakingly design all the furnishings that are required in order to give the event that little edge. In short, design value is ascribed to all the physical elements and their presentation that make up the event.

After planning comes the actual execution stage which needs to be orchestrated in a perfect manner. Efficient venue management consists of commissioning security personnel; managing the banquet area; hospitality; and all the things that add elegance.

There is no formal academic training available to become an event manager. Since it has become a market involving technology, investment and multinationals, it needs to be better defined. The steadily increasing numbers of small event management companies is an indication of positive growth for this profession.

Personal Requirements

  • creative and perfectionist
  • coordinating, organisational and leadership skills
  • decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • able to meet deadlines and keep to a budget
  • patience to pay attention to every small detail
  • willing to very work hard and irregular hours

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Certificate and diploma courses in catering, tourism, hospitality, hotel and restaurant management, public relations and business administration, can all lead to a career in event management. Pretoria University
offers a bachelor degree programme in tourism and business administration.

Degree: courses in Tourism are offered by Monash, NMMU, NWU, UJ, UV, and UNISA. Tourism Events Management - UZ.

Diploma: courses in Hospitality and Tourism are offered by CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT. Most FET Colleges, e.g. Port Elizabeth, Elangeni, Boland, False Bay, Northlink, South and Northern Cape, and SW Gauteng also offer courses in Hospitality and Tourism.

Events Coordination is offered by Intec and Events Planner by Damelin.

Several years of training and experience in hospitality, tourism administration, marketing or public relations can be just as important as a formal education for entry into this type of career.


  • tourism associations
  • trade and professional associations
  • convention and conference centres
  • government departments
  • conference and event planning companies
  • amusement and recreational service industries
  • business services industry, for example, management consulting services
  • advertising companies
  • large catering companies
  • self-employment - the nature of the work does not require a high initial investment in equipment; a home-based office, with computer, fax and telephone, may be enough to get started

Further Information

Any of the above-mentioned potential employers.

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a large catering company
  • make an appointment to speak to an event manager or conference planner about this career

Programmes by Study Institutions

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